Monday, November 5, 2012

Safety Net

Meigs Creek Trail - GSMNP
This is creek crossing number one of 17 on this 3.5 mile trail
October 31, 2012

Sometimes, just getting a post started is the hardest part for me.   In this month of Thanksgiving, I am so totally overwhelmed with gratitude for consecutive days in which I feel normal and are relatively pain-free that words simply fail me.  Once more, let me thank so many of you for your kind words of support both in the blog and through email.  I simply remain in disbelief that restarting a medication after a four month break made that much difference in such a short amount of time, but it did and I refuse to question it.  I am just thankful for it and in introspect, will take no moments for granted plus pray that I can be the friend and support system to others that so many have been to me.  Pain comes in many forms, it shows no mercy and is absolutely no respecter of persons.  Never, ever take one moment of your health for granted.  

Barbara Berkely, who blogs at Refuse to Regain, posted one of the best articles I recall on the fine art of weight maintenance.  You can find it here.  Barbara has some pretty harsh stances on eating not all of which I agree with, however, she writes with great wisdom about the challenges involved once one moves from weight loss mode into weight maintenance.  I love her acronyms, D.U.M and S.M.A.R.T.  You'll have to read the article to learn about them.  I'd already been doing some thinking as to how I planned to navigate my first holiday season as a maintainer.  

It didn't take long to realize and become comfortable with the fact that I will approach it by doing exactly what I've been doing for the last year.  I have established a final goal weight, plan to stay within a two pound range of that goal weight and have determined that my "scream" weight will be five pounds above the goal weight.  

I view "holiday" eating in the same way that I view travel/vacation eating.  For me, nothing changes.  If I start trying to fit in extras or compromises, I'll be at that scream weight and beyond before you know it.  I'm not willing to let that happen.  It is not worth it.  

Each of us has to develop the plan that works for us individually.  The important thing is to establish your plan for holiday eating NOW.  One of my favorite one liners applicable to most any life situation, but TOTALLY applicable to this is, "failing to plan is planning to fail."  No matter where you are in your journey, much damage can be done in the next two months leading to major discouragement and remorse come January 1.  Please don't let that happen to you.  

 Creek Crossing #4

During the weeks of difficulty in getting my RA under control, hiking never lost its joy, but it certainly lost some of its pleasure.  I was also made to confront the idea of having to strictly curtail my hiking or getting to the point of not being able to hike at all.  These thoughts were not pretty and were the days when I reached my lowest point.  So to be back on the trail week before last with Becca and then twice last week with another hiking friend from my church at times brought out emotions so deep I could hardly contain them.  I felt strong and energetic.  It felt good!   And to be blessed with so many friends who are willing to adjust their pace to mine and lend a hand when I need it.

 Creek Crossing #7

Meigs Creek Trail is one of my favorites because in all of its 3.5 miles, you are rarely away from the sound of rushing water.  Those 17 creek crossings are challenging, but fun and with low water in the park, we felt they would be easily rock hopped or might require changing into water shoes for wading.
Creek Crossing #14

Sandy did quite a number at the higher elevations dumping record breaking snowfall amounts unheard of for October.   It was difficult for me to be out having such a good time when so many were (and are) still suffering.  But the beauty of being out in the woods on a clear, sunny day listening to the gentle crunch of my boots in the snow and reflecting on the many reasons I have for celebration right now brought the pleasure I'd been missing and an indescribable joy!  

Grapeyard Ridge Trail - GSMNP
November 1, 2012

You really can't see it so much in this picture, but the grin from ear to ear says it all.  We call it the hiker smile and my friend (who took the picture) told me I smiled for the entire 7.6 miles of this trail!  I don't doubt it for a minute!

What Are YOU Smiling About Today?
Tell Someone You Love Them, Be Active, Pay It Forward!


  1. What a beautiful story you weave. I love the pictures and look forward to reading more about your weight loss.

  2. Hello Sharon. Love those photos. The snow is amazing. Loved that article, too, from Barbara at Refuse to Regain. I took many of the steps and planning this time around. It was more harsh to regain the weight than to go grain free. From an emotional and physical side. I'll be blogging about the article in the next day or so.

    I'm most thankful for my health, my jr family member , and my safe place to live. Prayers go out to you for your health. You look so happy. I'm glad that the Meds are working for you to keep you on the trail. That is very, very important to do what you love.

    I also pray for those effected by Sandy. Those who have lost their homes , processions , and who have to live with the rebuild. Tough stuff.

    Here's to another year of hiking, Sharon!!!

  3. Aw, I'm jealous of that last picture in the snow! I would have been grinning ear to ear too :) So glad to see you back on the trail and hopefully pain free.

    I think having a plan like you do around vacations and holidays is priceless. When we don't have a plan, it's way to easy to veer off course, because you didn't have a course to begin with.

    Today, I'm smiling about day 5 of being mostly sugar free...and that feels powerful.

  4. Can I just say I LOVE your love of hiking! It's infectious. Everytime I visit, I'm always thinking of where I can go around here. I also like your heads up about planning for the Holidays NOW. And how you set your limits with your weight and what your "scream" weight is. I need to make plans now. I know for myself that it's about BEING PREPARED! You can save so much future heartache and regret if you prepare now! So thanks for the reminder.

    I'm also super happy to hear you are pain free. I didn't realize your health struggles. I will have to go back and read about them. Nevertheless, I'm grateful that you are feeling better and able to do what you love!! :)

    God Bless...

  5. Snow!!! Gahhh! I am so not ready. We might get some if that Noreaster forms like they think it might (and poor, poor coastal people for that as well).

    So glad your RA is back under control with meds.

    I am prepared with how I am going to be eating to not gain weight over the holidays.

  6. Ha! I was looking at your smile in that photo, and I didn't even notice you were standing in the snow!!

    So so glad the medicine is working and you are able to get back to your beloved hiking.

  7. Snow!!! :) Love the photos! I think that while you can be sad for those who Sandy devastated, not enjoying what's around you would be a problem, extending the devastation to you and giving nothing to the people it hurt. It doesn't help them to deprive yourself of nature's beauty!

  8. So glad you are doing so well and that the medication is helping with your RA.... Pain is NO FUN ---and anyone who has gone through alot of pain knows what you have gone through... Glad you are now able to get out and do some hiking. I enjoy hiking in winter --when the air is crisp and there is a feel of 'snow' in the air (and for you, on the ground)....

    Congrats. Keep up the good work.

  9. I love the term "hiker smile!" It certainly describes my mood when I'm traveling in the woods. Yes - if you make it out to Oregon I'd be glad to show you some of my favorite hikes. Have a great Monday.

  10. I am so glad to know that the pain from RA is finally under control for you and you are back to living hte life you want to.

  11. I'm smiling with you at the pure joy and peace that comes from hiking in beautiful places. I'm so happy for you Sharon - glad the meds are working and your pain is under control. "Hiker Smile" I love it and hope to put mine back on next year.

  12. I am grinning ear to ear just watching that smile of yours in that photo. It speaks volumes, Sharon. I'm so happy that you're on the upswing. You just keep plugging along; such an inspiration, truly. BIG hugs!!!

  13. "Scream weight" I hadn't heard that one, but I like it. My term of choice is "red zone", as in *Danger!Danger!*. Of course, I'm probably in the danger zone now, after that last vacation and a business trip, but it turns out that life on the edge isn't so bad when you feel so darn good. LOL

    speaking of feeling good, I'm so very happy that you're feeling so much better!

  14. I thought it looked cold here, but Grapeyard Ridge Trail has SNOW on it! Glad you had a nice hike, must be easy to see the bears now!

  15. I am smiling because I am so happy that your RA is better and under control. Very, very happy for you that you were finally able to get out and enjoy the mountains and the natural beauty of your area.

    I was smiling yesterday , too. (well, I actually smile alot!). Yesterday was my first longer ride, 7 miles, after a pneumonia like virus. I have not been able to do ANY physical activity because I would run short or breathe and cough horribly. So, I imagine that you and I were both feeling rather splendid being outdoors and doing what we love!

  16. So glad you are having some better days. The smile on your face says it all. I love to read all your hiking reports!! I'm always so at peace when I'm in the Smokies.
    We were in Cataloochee the middle of September.

  17. Alright...I wasn't going to say anything...but it's been 13 days. I need a Sharon update!!!